Monday, August 30, 2010

Seniors and Downsizing - Moving to a Smaller Home

Downsizing can be a tough process for anyone, but especially for seniors who find themselves with a large home. More and more are tackling the huge job of downsizing their living spaces. In fact, about six percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 move each year, according to the Over-50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders. As seniors reach the time to downsize belongings and move into smaller, more manageable homes, many have a hard time figuring out what to do with all of the “stuff ” they’ve accumulated over the years.

To have a more simplified lifestyle many seniors decide to move to a smaller, more manageable home.

Following are some tips for seniors downsizing:

• Get rid of the guilt factor — Many seniors feel they are the “keepers” of their family heirlooms and have a hard time getting rid of items for which they no longer have room. And even adult “children” have a hard time with their parents leaving the “family home” thinking that their childhood memories will be gone forever.

Instead of waiting to give your children some of your possessions that you would most likely leave them anyway….give them these pieces now, especially if they are not being used on a regular basis. They will be able to enjoy them now and you will be able to watch them enjoy them!

If younger family members are not interested in taking the items then consider donating them to a worthy cause. Some organizations purchase furniture, high-end clothing, and porcelain, and then sell those items to raise money for specific causes or charities.

Professional organizers can help seniors sort through household items to strategically figure out what will work in their new space. They also can help seniors identify which organizations to turn to that are best at finding new homes for family heirlooms.

Find movers specializing in senior needs — Moving is stressful for everyone, but some moving companies specialize in making the transition easier for seniors, and professional organizers can help find the perfect “mover match” for a client. A professional organizer can help pare down items before the move and make the process easier at moving time.

Some professional organizers will also help with things such as helping the clients hang pictures on the walls for clients unable to do so themselves, handling the change of address and utilities, setting up electronics at a new home, and much more.

• Have a professional organizer reassess every five to ten years — As seniors get older, modern appliances or high shelving can become more difficult to use or simply unnecessary considering their lifestyle changes. Hire a professional organizer to evaluate and reassess your needs every five to ten years to make sure your home is still working for you.

For example, seniors who usually eat dinner alone should bring two to three sets of dinnerware to their level instead of keeping everything in out-of-reach cabinetry. Sometimes seniors don’t realize everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes. Professional organizers are great resources to help identify easy ways seniors can simplify to improve their overall quality of life.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 23, 2010


Most people don’t think about dying….or becoming seriously ill. It’s just too “real. Or “morbid

But if you have kids…thinking about protecting them with a “will” is not only important…it’s down right necessary !!!!

Maybe you are only 22 or 28 or 35…and will live to be 80 ! Maybe you are in “perfect” health. But what if another driver falls asleep at the wheel and runs a red light and totals your car?

What if ???

What if you aren’t as lucky as I was and you don’t make it? And I had my baby daughter I the car.

We were beyond lucky. I saw the car…I had the right of way. I knew they weren’t going to stop. But I couldn’t do anything…. There was oncoming traffic in the other lane and I had nowhere to go.

I was lucky. My daughter and I survived. With no injuries.

But what if you aren’t so lucky. And your child is left with no parent?

Do you have a "wil"l ?

Do you have a “health care proxy” ?

Do you have a “living will” ?

Do you have a “power of attorney” ?

Does anyone know where these documents are ?

Do you have your medical history documented somewhere?

Do you have a list of your doctors ?

Do you have a list of your surgeries ?

Of your medications ?

Of your allergies ?

Stuff happens……

Are you ready ?

Do you really want to take that chance ?

If you have a family….is it fair to them ?

Be organized… get your affairs in order….. and go about your life knowing that if anything happened to you, your family would know what you wanted and your kids would be protected.

It’s time to be a “grown up”.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 16, 2010


Most people don’t understand that organizing isn’t a “one size fits all” type of business.

Each client is different… in what they want, how they want it done, what they need to have done and how we teach them to become organized.

As a “Professional Organizer” I belong to numerous organizations, including NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers and NGGCD (National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization). I take my job and my “organizing” passion very seriously.

Most people don’t realize that organizers have certification programs and attend numerous seminars on various topics.

I have a “Certificate of Study in Chronic Disorganization”. Which means that I passed an exam and am serious about my “profession” and learning everything that I can about the subject.

When most people think about “professional organizers” they think about “closets”. Or now they might think about “hoarders”. Both of which I do.

But organizing is more than that.

Let’s just talk about closets for a minute. Think about “kids” ….those short people. They can’t reach very high. So when we are organizing a closet for a child we need to think about them being “vertically challenged”. But we also need to think about the future and the fact that someday … they will be taller and can reach higher.

Now let’s think about “seniors”. . Maybe they can’t reach very high because of arthritis. So the closet rods should be lower. And they can’t do a lot of physical labor for long periods of time… so your organizing sessions might need to be shorter.

See how closets aren’t just “standard” ?

Or what about people with ADD ? They don’t see things the way the rest of the world does. They might not “learn” the same. They might be “visual” people. So if you are talking about filing or organizing…they might not “get” the logic behind what you say. Or their attention span might be a lot shorter.

So you have to think of “different” ways to get your point across to them.

Or people that are in a “life changing circumstance” ? It could be someone that just lost a spouse or someone that is going through a “life altering” experience. They might not be able to make those “organizing” decisions as easily as they did before their life changing circumstance.

Or “hoarders” …… they aren’t just “messy”. They have a whole lot of “psychological problems” that you need to deal with or at least acknowledge.

“Organizing” isn’t a cut and dried service.

Organizers use different techniques for each different type of client.

And as an organizer it’s important to be continuously learning about the varying needs of our clients.

And as a client you should be able to depend on your organizer to acknowledge your varying needs and come up with solutions for “you” …. Not their “last” client.

The world of “professional organizing” is ever evolving. And we have to keep up.

Not only do we teach our clients about being organized…. but they teach us about “life”.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 9, 2010


Being “organized” isn’t just about clearing out the clutter in your closet. It’s about everyday life.

Being organized is a life style. It’s a life “choice”.

People can walk through life aimlessly. Going from one crisis to another with no plan. Or they can have a “life plan” and know what they want and how they are going to get there.

Don’t get me wrong… it’s not always easy. Even if you have a “plan” the road can be very rocky if not impossible.

But without a plan… a course of action… you will never get there and never achieve your goals.

It’s sort of like building a house. You have to decide what “kind” of house you want to build. What style? What do you want it to look like? How many bedrooms? Where are you going to put the windows and doors? What type of flooring? Who is going to build it? Who is going to do the electrical and the plumbing?

Lots of questions.

And you have to have answers.

The house won’t get built without your input and answers.

And after you make the decisions…. You have to live with the consequences.

So if you haven’t thought things out carefully you might end up with a window in your closet but no door to get in. Or the kitchen is not big enough for the subzero refrigerator that you wanted.

If you know your end goal and you have a plan for what you need to do to get there you can just check off each step as you go.

But if you skip ahead to the end….without a plan… you might be very disappointed with the end result.

Even with a plan you will need to be flexible and have “alternative” options. Because if you don’t and life throws you a curveball you might get too rattled to continue the game.

Life is a challenge. And sometimes you will need to ask directions.

Be prepared. Have a map. And a compass.

You never know when you’ll learn something new.

Organizational Consulting Services

Monday, August 2, 2010


Pack up items that you haven’t used in a while and store them in the basement / attic. Put a date on the box. After three (3) months have passed and you haven’t missed the item…. get rid of it ! Obviously you didn’t really need it / use it….so why should it take up valuable space in your house.

Look at your calendar and make a list of all of the birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions that you have during the year. Count them up and buy the appropriate number of cards for each occasion. Go to the store and buy all of your cards at one time.

Use a pendaflex file organized by month and insert the cards into the appropriate month. At the beginning of the month fill out that months cards (address & stamp). You can put the actual date in a corner or back of the card. At the beginning of each week pull the cards that need to be mailed for that week and put them in the mail.

Keep a basket of healthy snacks in a basket for your kids on a kid level shelf. That way they can help themselves to snacks and you know what they are eating.

Use shelf dividers in your kitchen to double the space in your cabinets.

Check your medicine cabinet for expired medications. Don’t forget to look at non-prescription bottles and lotions.

Check your make-up. There are guidelines for make-up expiration. Be safe. Be healthy.

Create a spot near the door for your purse, keys, briefcase / backpacks…so that you can find things in the morning.

Plan all of your errands for the day before you leave the house so that you take the most direct route and don’t drive aimlessly from one side of town to the other…over and over again.

Sit down with your family Sunday night and go over the weekly schedule so that everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises during the week.

Have everyone in the family make a list of their five (5) favorite meals. Then put them on the calendar for the month. By doing this everyone gets a turn getting their favorite meal. For added “family time” have them help make that meal. Or you can have them make a list of all of the requirements for that meal so that you have a grocery list all ready.

Pick a day and have everyone in the family go through their closet and gather clothes that they no longer wear or that don’t fit. Remember to donate them and you can get a tax write-off !

Have a set spot for mail. Have 3 baskets. Whoever gets the mail should immediately divide it into: bills, personal mail, other. That way the bills don’t get lost or forgotten and you can deal with them immediately (at least put them in the appropriate bill spot for paying bills). Junk mail should immediately be put in the trash.

Trade “chores” with your neighbors or friends. If they take the kids to sports practice you can run your errands …alone… and get them done faster. When they need to do something you can swap kid duty with them…. or any other chore…. If they like mowing the lawn but hate weeding…and you like weeding because it’s relaxing….trade with them. Lots of possibilities….

Organizational Consulting Services